It’s Kellen, the “Baltimoron” [I say that in a loving, self-deprecating way (you don't have permission to call me that)], and as a Titans fan from Baltimore I’ve got some ancillary reasons to very strongly dislike (hate) the Colts. In recent memory the Indy Colts have been the class of the division, as well as the last team from the Conference to win the Super Bowl. For a while there, there were a number of Tennessee football fans (college and pro alike) who might have even pulled for the Colts against the Titans because of our Volunteer hero who couldn’t do what Tee Martin did (win a national championship, beat Florida). Luckily, the priorities of most fans have changed for the better, and the Titans have grown into the biggest sports priority across the state. For all Titans fans, beating the Colts equates to a very big win against a team that has been “big man on campus” in the division for quite some time. For this specific Titans blogger, though, it means a little bit more.
The first football game I ever went to was a Colts game in Baltimore, though I’d be lying if I said I remember anything about it. This would have been not too long after I was born, late 1982, and my father had season tickets at Memorial Stadium. The Colts finished a wonderful 0-8-1 that campaign and drafted John Elway with the first overall pick in the 1983 draft. John Elway refused to play for the Colts (we don’t like John Elway or Eli Manning), and demanded a trade. After one last season, owner Bob Irsay sneaked the Colts out of Baltimore on March 28, 1984 at 3am.
I was too young to ever really be a Colts fan, so I didn’t personally go through any excruciating loss. What I have surmised over the years, though, is that however much success the Orioles have had over the years (trust me it’s happened before), Baltimore was always a football town. The 1958 NFL Championship Game has been widely regarded as the “Greatest Game Ever Played.” The drama of the game (it was the first NFL contest to ever go to sudden death) coupled with the largest broadcast audience the NFL had ever seen, catapulted the NFL, Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts into household names.
Franchises move a lot more than most people would like. It would be hypocritical for people like me (who root for teams like the Titans or the Ravens) to call out another franchise solely for the fact that they left a lot of pissed off fans in their wake when they moved. The biggest difference is the way that the Colts were moved. Franchises always move with a certain amount of controversy (except maybe the Expos), but I can’t think of a time that a franchise was so literally stolen from a city. People in Baltimore were in shock the morning of the move, and saying that the Irsays aren’t Baltimore’s first family is more of an understatement than most understand.
For Johnny U and most of his teammates, the Indianapolis franchise was an entity that they would have nothing to do with (even during the years without a Baltimore football team). That, though, didn’t affect a Colts record book in which Peyton Manning’s name sits next to Unitas’ (I guess Unitas would have rather had Kyle Boller gunning for his records for more than one reason), even though the NFL would never let a Raven’s name anywhere near Jim Brown’s. In recent years, the state of Indiana tried to put Baltimore era Colts on license plates next to current members. This was ended by subsequent lawsuits from players’ families. Again, members of the Baltimore Colts want nothing to do with the Indianapolis Colts.
The goal of all of this is in no way to make any of you care about the Ravens, the city of Baltimore or the state of Maryland. People of principle from any part of the country should have issues with such a tainted franchise. All I really ask you to do is to dislike (maybe even hate) the Colts more than you already do. It’s really the only decent thing to do.
Thanks in advance for your consideration.
Tags: Baltimore Colts Baltimore Orioles Baltimore Ravens Bob Irsay Eli Manning Florida Gators Greatest Game Ever Played Indianapolis Colts Jim Brown John Elway Johnny Unitas Kyle Boller Memorial Stadium Peyton Manning Tee Martin Tennessee Titans Tennessee Vols